Free & WiFi: 4-Letter Words Everyone Should Know

Free WiFi has become a necessity. Affordability of notebook computers (aka laptops) combined with the proliferation of digital and social media has integrated the casual internet user, student, tele-commuter, man, woman and child into the information highway.

I love my notebook computer. I am also cheap…I mean I have recession competent skills. So I crave and enjoy enjoy affordable internet that allows me to sip a coffee in a cafe or sit in the park and surf the web. In this post I will share my knowledge of and opinion about some of my favorite free and unlimited WiFi locations in Buffalo, NY.

1. Wegmans

Wegmans offers free WiFi at many of its stores across the region. Almost everyone knows that Wegmans offers superb food items and customer care. Wegmans is a social networking place in its own right. How many times have you run into someone you know while grocery shopping, Especially at the Amherst Street location? After 5pm the place becomes a supermarket happy hour!

Well, the cafe area is an ideal place to take your notebook, grab a bite, a coffee, check email, work on a project, post a blog or have a small meeting. Electrical outlets are available may be available depending on location. Parking is free.

2. Buffalo & Erie County Public Libraries

B&ECPL offers free WiFi at most of the branches. This is a great asset to all communities. Most branches are equipped with desktop computers and a notebook that can be borrowed with a valid library card. Of course you may use your personal notebook to take advantage of the wireless internet.

The Central branch has Fables Cafe, a small onsite cafe which offers light fare and beverages weekdays and Saturday. There are ample electrical outlets available in the cafe area. You will need to pay for parking during wekday business hours. Free on-street parking is available after 5pm weekdays and on weekends. Paid parking lots are also nearby.

3. The Erie Basin Marina

The Erie Basin Marina is a free hotzone operated by the city. The marina is a popular  summer location for WNY residents as was mentioned in the Buffalo Beacon blog post, The Hatch Is A Catch.  You will need a fully powered notebook. No electrical outlets to power up when your notebook starts to power down. Free parking is available.

4. Panera Bread Bakery-Cafe

Panera Bread Bakery-Cafe offer great soups, sandwiches and free coffee refills. There are no locations within the Buffalo, NY metro area but there are several locations in surrounding suburbs. If Buffalo and the surrounding areas would embrace the concept of regionalism I could write this post accordingly. Oh well, I’ll save that topic for another day.

Anyway, Panera Bread Bakery-Cafe can be crowded during peak times such weekday lunch hour and occasionally weekend lunch and evenings. During lunch WiFi patrons are asked to limit  usage to 30 minutes between noon and 2pm. Panera Bread Bakery-Cafe ranks as a favorite because the food is tasty, the atmosphere is warm and friendly, the coffee refills are free and so is the parking. There are ample electrical outlets avaialble.

5. The 2nd Cup

The 2nd Cup is housed in a beautifully restored brick building in the heart of downtown Buffalo on the corners of Broadway and Ellicott streets, right next to the Central Branch Ellicott Street Entrance of The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library. The 2nd Cup offers light fare, coffee and live entertainment on occasion. Free WiFi is available and the B&ECPL WiFi is also accessible from the cafe. Coffee refills are $1. On-street parking is free after 5pm weekdays and on weekends. A few electrical outlets are available.

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